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Jambun: International community must continue search for MH370

 | July 24, 2016

The world needs to know why the plane deviated from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight path.

Daniel John Jambun

KOTA KINABALU: A human rights advocate has expressed the hope that the international community would come to Malaysia’s rescue and help continue the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

In arguing the case for the search to continue, Daniel John Jambun stressed that only the recovery of the black box and cockpit voice recorders will shed light on what transpired aboard MH370 and satisfy the international community.

“We need to know why the plane deviated from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight path.”

Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), thinks that if the theory driving the search for MH370 had not been abandoned in recent weeks, it would have been best for the world to bury the air tragedy once and for all. “Now, it appears that someone was at the controls of the plane up to its last moments.”

If that’s the case, he added, it’s imperative that the world continues the search for MH370. “A different picture has emerged altogether now of the ill-fated flight.”

Earlier, recalled Jambun, the theory driving the search was that no one was at the controls and that a ghost plane went to a watery grave after it ran out of fuel.

“Since there’s no sign of the plane so far in the 7th Arc, the search zone, the intelligent guesswork is that the plane may have glided from a point 230 km further from the search zone after it ran out of fuel.”

“It’s said that an Airbus, for example, can glide from 40,000 feet for 160 kilometres. The Boeing, no doubt, can glide for at least a similar distance.”

Gliding, noted Jambun, raises the distinct possibility that someone was at the controls. “This is a shocking development which raises serious questions on why the aircraft deviated from its Kuala Lumpur to Beijing fight path.”

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak did say once that someone deliberately steered the plane off course, he reminded.

Again, gliding to a watery grave places the plane in another search zone, apparently as large as California. “All the reports suggest it may take up to a decade to scour such a large patch of seabed,” he said.

This new search, if it comes about, is something that Malaysia can ill-afford, cautioned Jambun. “There are no reasons either why China and Australia alone should shoulder the financial burden.”

So far, China and Australia have plodded along with Malaysia a good two years in the hunt for the missing plane. It has cost them USD135 million so far.

Jambun fears that cost considerations may force the three nations to halt the search for the plane after scouring the remaining 10,000 sq km patch of the 120,000 sq km search zone in the southern Indian Ocean. “So far, it has been an exercise in futility.”

“The three countries also see no reason to continue the search unless new evidence emerges to show where the plane lies.”

The search team was convinced that it had been looking for the plane in the wrong place, after it became clear that all the MH370-related debris turned up in the western Indian Ocean, from Mauritius and Reunion to South Africa, Madagascar and as far north as Tanzania.

Jambun pointed out the theory that the plane headed south, after it rounded the northern tip of Sumatra, may have suddenly fallen apart. “If someone was at the controls, it may also have headed in a westerly direction, towards where all the debris so far have washed up.”

Still, he conceded, it doesn’t explain why MH370 deviated from its flight path.

MH370, a Boeing 777-200 with 239 people on board, was just short of Vietnam in the Gulf of Siam on 8 March 2014 when it turned back, flew across the peninsula, and was spotted over Pulau Perak in the Straits of Malacca, before making for the northern tip of Sumatra.

Thereafter, the whereabouts of the plane remain a great mystery.


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